Selig Needs To Become Stern’s Understudy In How To Deal With Outsiders

By Gregory Moore
Updated: August 13, 2005

SAN ANTONIO — Did you hear that? That’s the collective sigh of relief that Atlanta Hawk fans just let out because a Boston judge has rescinded an earlier ruling that prohibited eight members of the Hawks’ ownership group from booting a malignant tumor in the form of Steve Belkin.

Not to say that Mr. Belkin is a bad person as a human being because he’s not but as a person in charge of a basketball team, I think he needs to stay with winning club tennis titles. The posturing that went on between him and his partners were to public and somebody had to step in and make a ruling.

That person was David Stern, the commissioner of the National Basketball Association. If Hawk fans really want to know why Judge Alan van Gestel changed his mind, it’s not simply because Stern wrote an affidavit supporting the ownership majority but that a legal mind crafted an affidavit that was so solid that the judge had no choice but to step aside and let these two sides work something out.

Stern did his job as the commish of the NBA and his ability to govern will help the Hawks become a better team. You know what’s ironic in all of this thought? The fact that Bud Selig isn’t taking notes from Stern on how to deal with the media, contentious players, an argumentative union, and even an outside judicial arm in the form of a judge or arbitrator.

Why should Selig be sitting at Master Stern’s feet? Because Stern knows how to govern his league.

As the drama in Atlanta begins to wane down, I keep thinking how fortunate I am to actually cover a league where things get done by a commissioner that has put strong guidelines in place. I feel for baseball writers because their sport isn’t governed by a strong willed individual.

You can put some of the more recent negative stories of both leagues against each other and you can see from just the first couple of instances and their results that Commissioner Stern has a firm grasp on how players need to conform themselves.

When it comes to drug possession and steroids, you don’t hear of a basketball player being busted and if you ever did, the penalty for such an action would probably be a 20 to 30 game suspension. For a league that plays 82 regular season games, that’s a hefty fine but then again, it’s not like the league can’t police themselves.

But baseball is so different and it has a commissioner who can’t even enforce the simplest of societal rules these days. You can make the argument that when the Dec. 19th melee in Detroit between the Pistons and the Indiana Pacers went down, you knew that Stern was going to come down heavy on players for their actions and he did.

You also knew that there was little wiggle room for union representatives to try and get the lengthy sentences reduced. Criminal issues are still pending and it looks like the league is going to let the judicial system do its job. Yet when Kenny Rogers shoves two television cameramen and Selig imposes a ten game suspension on Rogers, we all knew that Rogers would pitch again and that the legal ramblings would be slowly moved tot he back burner.

The baseball union is so powerful that Selig cannot even govern these players properly because this particular collective bargaining agreement allows for players guilty of moral turpitude to still be with the team. Selig condones what has happened in so many cases because he has yet to negotiate a deal that has teeth in punishments for such actions.

Selig needs to ask Stern how does he do it because as sports fans found out after that brawl, the players served some lengthy sentences and lost some serious jack from their wallets. How was that possible? Because Stern is a commissioner who is charge of his league and he holds EVERYONE accountable that is a part of this league. What does Selig do to hold anyone accountable?

Basically nothing and he will never be able to reign this monster he has in because commissioners before him have been severely weekend; at least in the modern era of baseball. But baseball fans take solace in one thing: the day Bud Selig steps down as the commissioner, you had better find someone who is more than amply qualified but who understand BOTH sides of the coin.

Go to fullsize image REPLACE DISGRUNTLED T.O. WITH PETER WARRICK Okay Philadelphia Eagle fans, so you want Terrell Owens out of your city? Hey I’d be more to accommodate your wish if had any stroke at all. Yet since I’m not in such a position, let me just give you a quick thought on this whole scenario? I say let’s make Owens inactive for the season and let’s get in Peter Warrick from the Cincinnati Bengals.

Now before any fans start looking to push me off a cliff or something I want you to realize that I think drastic actions are needed to combat some very drastic measures that Owens has done. What Owens is doing right now reminds me so much of what Keyshawn Johnson did two seasons ago at Tampa Bay.

Remember that back then I lambasted Johnson for acting an ass and the Buccaneers got tired of him and basically told him to stay at home, collect your paycheck but you need to turn in EVERYTHING that is of Buccaneers’ property. Well I say it’s time for the Eagles to do the exact same thing with Owens and to show him that he isn’t the man of this team, I say bring in Warrick from the Bengals and let him get a fresh start with a young receiving corps and with Donavan McNabb.

Sounds pretty drastic huh? But you have to fight fire with fire and sometimes I think that general managers and the teams are scared to cut a guy like Owens because they think he is such an important piece in them winning championships.

Well as talented as Owens may be as a wide receiver, can anyone tell me when was the last time Owens helped a team win a playoff game, division championship or Super Bowl? Last time I checked, he didn’t have anything that showed the sports world just how much of a player he is a winner. The reality is that Owens has potential; more than most at his position but nonetheless he has potential. But you know what? Warrick may have potential too.

As a matter of fact, he may have something that Owens doesn’t have and doesn’t present to the sports world. Owens doesn’t have reverence of what could be. You better believe Warrick would jump at the chance to play for the Eagles and the Eagle brass would have a model citizen try and emulate the Eagle way of doing things off the court.

So I say good riddance to a guy who is nothing but a malcontent his entire adult life. Now Owens can leave the country without a reprisal of the team trying to quietly keep him off of it. Good luck Eagles fans in replacing a loud mouth like Owens. Next time, be careful what you wishing for because sometimes even the deal with the devil may not have loopholes like this one does.


This past Friday I had a very interesting conversation with an HBCU athletic director and amongst the conversation was that of financial giving by former athletes who have now turned pro.

This particular conversation got my wheels spinning because I have always wondered if maybe one of the biggest problems why these schools like Virginia Union, Texas Southern and others have in getting big name donations is because the few athletes who do leave the school and go on to become professional athletes are not “coming back home” and helping with fundraising efforts.

Should a pro athlete that spent his college career at such an institution reach into his pocket and dole out several thousands of dollars to this school that fed him, tutored him and nurtured him? From this writer’s standpoint the answer is an emphatic yes.

Ironically the conversation I had with this AD touched on the value system of today’s young athletes. What made this conversation so compelling is that neither one of us had spoken to each other prior about any of the topics at hand but yet we both came away with a sense of camaraderie in wanting to help our little segment of the world in learning what it means to “give back”.

Now many would say that players like Jerome James and Michael Strahan do give back but when this AD said that an endowment fund would serve better for these institutions, I could not have agreed more. Endowment funds that are amply funded from the start would definitely help these schools because it would put them a little closer to the funding needed to make sure that these athletes have the necessary tools for life beyond their college days.

As is such the commonplace, African Americans are generally not a “giving” people when it comes to philanthropy. This AD brought up how it would be nice if we [meaning the African American community] had more Bob Johnsons, more Bill and Camile Cosbys and more Oprah Winfreys.

Yet the reality is that disposable income for this segment of our populace is not what many may think and whatever small value this income is, you can pretty much find it spent on foolishness. What is foolishness you may ask? How about an extravagant house with interior waterfalls or a luxury car/SUV with rims that cost as much as a small down payment on another house.

Athletes who spend their wealth on such things usually find themselves asking why did they do that early in their careers and usually it is asked when they are nearly flat broke. The money that they are spending on superficial things could be used for an endowment that bears their name and creates a legacy.

I think that is what this particular AD was trying to convey; at least that is what I gathered from our talk on this matter. Athletes who are coming from HBCUs and gracing our sports membranes on any given Sunday or any weekend during the fall, winter and spring should be creating legacies.

These HBCUs need some legacies started and perpetuate because these are the schools that actually nurture those who can’t make it into Syracuse, Ball State or North Texas. I completely understand what this AD was trying to say. Hopefully some of these past, current and future pro athletes understand this premise too and the gifts start truly flowing in to these schools coffers.

We may not get some Bob Johnsons right off the bat but if these monetary gifts continue to grow for these schools, we just might see the HBCU campuses thriving once more and the threat of closure or restructure be almost null and void.